How to Listen to Audiobooks on Double Speed

I mention occasionally that I listen to my audiobooks on double-speed and invariably someone asks me how you turn up the speed on your audio.

And then I sound like a complete idiot because I’m all, “Well, you just have to push this little button for the speed. But oh, first, you have to make sure it’s listed as an audiobook. And you do that by. .” etc while that person’s eyes glaze over and they wish like crazy they’d never asked and just nodded politely and kept eating their dessert.

But, you probably, aren’t eating dessert at seven a.m. (and if you are, can I please come over?), so let me bore you with the details of how you do this.

Also, be warned that you’ll probably think, “Well, this is like listening to Donald Duck” for the first fifteen minutes. Give it a bit and I promise your brain will quickly adjust. And then you’ll be zipping through books like a book-reading ninja (that sounded better in my head. A book-reading ninja doesn’t sound very impressive or terrifying).

Anyway, if your books are already labeled as audiobooks, this is a two-second process.

In the MP3 player section of your iPhone, click the “Audiobooks” icon:
Choose your audiobook:
Click the little button in the right hand corner that says 1x. It’ll move to 2x (or you can choose 1/2x too).

That was easy.

If you’ve imported your audiobooks via CD, though, you probably just have them listed as music files, and they won’t show up in your audiobooks tab and you won’t have the option to choose double speed.

If that’s the case, here’s how you quickly switch them to audiobooks.

Find your music files for your audiobooks in the “Music” tab of iTunes:

Select the files and right-click. Choose “Get Info” from the drop-down menu:

In the menu that opens, choose the last tab (“Options”) and on the “Media Kind” drop-down menu, select “Audiobook.” Press OK.

Your files will update and they’ll disappear from the music tab.

Change from the “Music” tab to the “Books” tab (in the top left corner). Find your audiobook and drag and drop it to your phone:

Now just follow the first steps from the top of this post to open your audiobook on your phone and change the speed.

P.S. If you have a regular iPod, you can go to the “Settings” menu, then select “Playback,” then “Audiobooks” and choose “faster” (it defaults to “normal”).  I don’t think it’ll do it quite double, but it will be speedier.

Questions? Let me know and I’ll try to answer!

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  1. I really wish there was a 1 1/2x option. Double speed is a little fast for me, but maybe I just haven't given it a long enough chance (as in, longer than five seconds).

  2. Bless you. I stopped listening to audiobooks because I couldn't stand how slow it was. And now I can listen again!

  3. Not quite related question, but has your iPhone entirely replaced your iPod (assuming you have/had one)? I ask because my iPod recently died and I'm trying to decide whether to get it fixed or just hold out until I get an iPhone. I only use my iPod for podcasts and audiobooks, so I wouldn't be storing my entire music library on the phone.

  4. This is how Mike was able to finish his "read the entire book of Mormon" homework assignment in two days in college 😉

  5. I once listened to a general conference podcast on 1.5x speed, and it basically made all the speakers sound like they talked at a normal pace.

  6. Lol. this reminds me of when I was at BYU and I used to listen to my accounting lectures on double time. 🙂

  7. This is awesome…. but is there anyway of doubling the playspeed in itunes? I have an ipod nano, early model with no screen.

  8. My library uses Overdrive, which apparently doesn't give you the option for doubletime. Any other suggestions? My Kindle can do text-to-audio, and I always doubletime that — so I'd love to use it if there was a way to sync my library audiobooks too!

    1. If you're playing the file on Overdrive (as opposed to downloading and transferring to an ipod), there is a button just to the right of the volume slider (looks like 3 right-facing arrows) that controls play speed (1.2x, 1.4x, 2x).

  9. You are awesome! Thanks so much. You showed me exactly what I wanted, and probably saved my listening to this book, which even at 2x sounds a little slow.

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